Washington, Aug 29, 2013 -- Acting Agriculture Under Secretary Doug O’Brien today announced approval of a loan guarantee to improve electric infrastructure in rural Arkansas. The loan guarantee was made available through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to expand and improve electric service in rural areas nationwide. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. Today’s announcement is one part of the Department’s efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
“These investments in rural infrastructure will continue to ensure reliable and affordable electric service for rural residents, farmers, and commercial and industrial consumers,” O’Brien said. “They also will improve the quality of life and help strengthen rural economies. Our reliance upon electricity to improve basic needs and increase technological services reinforces the need for upgrades and investment in our nation’s grid.”
The Farmers Electric Cooperative Corporation will receive an $8.9 million USDA loan guarantee to build 83 miles of line and make other system improvements. The project also includes $91,000 for smart grid projects to increase electric reliability. The Obama Administration has invested more than $130.8 million in smart grid technologies nationwide during fiscal year 2013.
RUS Administrator John Padalino announced the loan guarantee on O’Brien’s behalf. Earlier in the week, Padalino toured Arkansas projects funded by Rural Development and celebrated the completion of the 500th water and wastewater project Rural Development helped finance through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities.
USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA has made a concerted effort to deliver results for the American people, even as USDA implements sequestration – the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act. USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $828 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing sequester budget reductions in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).